The Corner

Cruise Report

What a great cruise! We had royal fun last week sailing the western Caribbean with colleagues and close to 800 National Review fans, all in high spirits. Many thanks to Jack Fowler and the other NR staffers who put in so much work to make this a success. I think everyone had a terrific time of it.

These events are at least as instructive for us as they are for the guests. We get to hear from people fighting in the political trenches all over the country. It gives you a perspective on things quite different from the Washington D.C. bigfoot commentary. One of my dinner companions was a Republican party activist from Idaho who told us with great pride that Idaho is now the most conservative state in the union, legislature-wise.**  In the Gem State senate, he chortled, seven Democrats have to cover ten committees. “We’ll run ’em off their feet!” It’s not actually true that all politics is local; but a heck of a lot is, and it’s at least as interesting, and often more important, than the Beltway stuff. We also get to meet people with fascinating life stories. A different dinner companion of mine had been a U.S. Army medic assigned to Spandau prison after WW2 to look after Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer, and other big-name Nazis. He had some stories to tell.

The Derbs had left the kids — ages 15 and 17 — at home to fend for themselves, with suitable alerts to watchful neighbors. The kids came through splendidly. When we arrived back home yesterday the house was not only still standing (in defiance of predictions from some cynical friends), it was neat and clean. The neighbors report no loud music or riotous parties — nothing at all out of the ordinary, in fact. Mrs. D & I are experiencing a mixture of pride in having raised sensible, responsible kids and dawning glee at the realization that they don’t need us any more!

I posted some cruise pics here. (Click on little pics for a bigger version.) And here is another one, which comes with a bleg. The picture there is of a plant that grows on the beaches of Cozumel. It has a lovely fragrance, something like lavender. Whole long stretches of the beaches are perfumed with this fragrance. What’s the plant, though? If any botanically well-informed reader can tell me, I’d be much obliged.

** The title is disputed here, though there are some counter-disputations in the comment thread.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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